Obama finally called out the anti-science position of the GOP candidates:
“Has anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change. It’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay.”
People who would like to go beyond soundbites, and go see actual science of global warming being done can read John Nielsen-Gammon (American meteorologist and climatologist)'s Analyses of the Impact of Global Warming on the Texas Drought.
[after long discussion of the climate science...]
This record-setting summer was 5.4 F above average. The lack of precipitation accounts for 4.0 F, greenhouse gases global warming [edited 9/11/11] accounts for another 0.9 F, and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (La Niña and friends) accounts for another 0.3 F.
Does an extra degree or degree and a half matter? No question it made it a bit more unpleasant. For farmers and ranchers, it made it a little bit harder for plants to survive, it made soils dry out faster, and it made stock tanks dry up much quicker because cattle needed more water at the same time water was evaporating from the tanks at a faster rate. The same applies to reservoirs: greater heat means less water making it all the way to the reservoir, water evaporating faster from the reservoir, and greater demands for water from the reservoir.
For wildfire, it made the grasses and trees a bit drier and killed more trees than would otherwise have died. It thus made fires more likely to start and allowed them to spread more rapidly. Presumably some fires would not have started at all, but we have no way of knowing which ones.
In other words, one-fifth of the tragedy was caused by the this country's government's and the world's government's failure to stop burning coal, oil, and gas.
People have already started to die of global warming. And it's going to get worse before it gets better.